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Lajes do Pico ,  July 09, 2019

Quality and food safety certification of slaughterhouses to improve the sector's competitiveness, says João Ponte

The Regional Secretary for Agriculture and Forestry stated today on Pico Island that the ISO 22000 standard certification of regional slaughterhouses on food quality and safety management is another contribution to enhancing the quality of meat and improving the competitiveness of the sector.
"With the closing of a cycle of major investments in the regional slaughtering network, with investments of about 15 million Euros in recent years, the Regional Government will now focus on the certification of slaughterhouses so as to certificate the entire network during this legislative term and, if possible, during this year," said João Ponte.
The government official spoke at the delivery ceremony of the ISO 22000 standard certificate to the Pico Slaughterhouse on the second day of the Regional Government's statutory visit to this island.
For João Ponte, this important and strategic decision to focus on the certification of slaughterhouses with the food quality and safety standard will allow the entry of regional meat into new markets and, thereby, generate more value for production.
The Regional Secretary pointed out that the sector must overcome a series of challenges, such as increasing the export of meat in pieces or seizing the opportunities that the new cutting plants on the islands of São Miguel, Faial, Santa Maria and Graciosa slaughterhouses will bring to the sector in terms of generating more value for regional meat. Moreover, it is important to focus on the export of ready-prepared meat outside the Region and invest in new market niches, such as the case of organic meat production.
"As anticipated, these challenges also involve production, where the conformation of animals and the guarantee of regular supply to the market are important aspects. In this regard, I am sure that the sector and production will provide a complete and positive response," stated João Ponte. There is also the challenge of strategic development for the Azores meat, where "there is work to be done and further developed between production and marketing towards the strengthening of production, wealth generation and the development of the Region in the agricultural sector."
In the specific case of Pico Island, João Ponte pointed out that there has been "unparalleled" growth in meat production. In the last four years, there has been an increase of 33% in the number of slaughtered animals. Last year alone, despite the growth of only 4%, the cutting of carcasses increased 50%.
"The fact that more than 80% of the cattle produced on the island of Pico is exported outside the Region in carcass or in pieces is, of course, very positive for the economy of Pico and the agricultural sector as well," stressed João Ponte. In the last four years, there has been a 40% decrease in the export of live animals from the Azores, which is "very significant."
For the Regional Secretary, the challenge is to continue working in partnership with producers' organisations and producers to improve measures and launch new ones to strengthen the regional meat sector, improve the competitiveness of the sector and foster the development of Pico Island and the Azores.


Official government press-releases presented in all foreign languages interfaces of the Azorean Government Portal (Portal do Governo dos Açores) are a sub-set of the government's official press-releases daily output and are chosen for translation and publication on the foreign language interfaces based on audience segmentation criteria. The entire collection of the Azorean government press-releases is available in portuguese, here, from the GACS Press Office site.

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